Clay 10, 11, 12 SB wins District 11


By Jacob Smith - [email protected]



The 2022 Clay 10, 11, 12 year old little league softball team celebrates winning the District 11 tournament and qualifying for the Ohio state tournament in Ashtabula beginning July 9.

The 2022 Clay 10, 11, 12 year old little league softball team celebrates winning the District 11 tournament and qualifying for the Ohio state tournament in Ashtabula beginning July 9.


Submitted photo

IRONTON — The Clay 10, 11, 12 year old little league softball team will represent District 11 in the 2022 Ohio state tournament following their district championship tournament win at Ironton over the weekend.

Members of the Clay softball team include Kenzie Carter, Heidi Smith, Lillie Wolfenbarker, Khloe Adams, Audrey Bach, Madison Carver, Laikyn Puckett, Lauren Copp, Zoey Moore, Maddie Penix, Elin Shaw, and Laney Shepherd. The coaches for the team include head coach JD Shaw and assistants Brandon Puckett and Nick Shepherd.

“It was absolutely tremendous. These young ladies have worked toward this not just this season, it’s something that’s been building,” Shaw said, in a phone interview Tuesday. “This group has been together for a number of years. The players, coaches have talked about this — we knew we could achieve it. It was amazing to see how hard they played in the heat, battling the tough teams, and to look back at the pictures the parents took and the smiles.”

After an early setback with a tournament loss to West, the Clay Lady Panthers made a run through the loser’s bracket — defeating Symmes Valley, West and Wheelersburg twice to capture the District 11 title.

Clay defeated Wheelersburg 8-2 on Saturday — as they needed two victories over the Lady Pirates to win the tournament.

When both teams returned to Ironton on Sunday for the winner-take-all championship game, it was Clay who prevailed as 11-5 victors.

“Everyone contributed. Our pitching I think is what set us apart from a lot of the other teams. We rode Elin Shaw and she answered it — she’s a tough competitor. But also our fielding. Early in the tournament we weren’t playing our best, but that kind of woke us up. Each game leading up to Wheelersburg we started playing better and better. I felt like we were peaking at the right time,” Shaw said, of his team’s performance in the District 11 tournament. “Defense was huge, we had several fly balls in the outfield caught that prevented runs. Our infield was tough. We had big hits, every girl one-through-nine and our subs at some point this tournament stepped up with a big hit or a big walk or laid a sac bunt. We had every aspect of the game working and every single girl contributed.”

Shaw said his coaching staff and players were appreciative of their community’s support throughout the season and weekend.

“We had tremendous support from the community. We had teachers at the game, the athletic director, Coach Gearheart came out. He’s been tremendous working with the girls, not just this year but he develops the youth program. Great to look up and see him there. The excitement hearing from everyone. The girls earned it, they worked hard and it was an amazing tournament. All the umpires and volunteers at Ironton did an amazing job.”

Clay’s 10, 11, 12 year old little league softball team will travel to Ashtabula, Ohio for the state tournament beginning on July 9 and concluding the 13th.

Shaw says their goal is not only to go represent District 11, but also to compete for a state championship.

“They are through the roof. The coaching staff and fanbase are excited. We whole heartedly expect to go up there and put Clay on the map,” Shaw said. “We think we’re going to go up there and compete and we expect to move on.”

The 2022 Clay 10, 11, 12 year old little league softball team celebrates winning the District 11 tournament and qualifying for the Ohio state tournament in Ashtabula beginning July 9.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/06/web1_Clay-SB-101112.jpgThe 2022 Clay 10, 11, 12 year old little league softball team celebrates winning the District 11 tournament and qualifying for the Ohio state tournament in Ashtabula beginning July 9.

Submitted photo

By Jacob Smith

[email protected]

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved